This month on the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed artist, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to feature one of our very own 1stfans: the anonymous, yet notorious, Twitter personality known as @MuseumNerd. If you’re one of the over 24,000 followers of this feed, you’ve probably already experienced Museum Nerd’s insightful commentary and contagious love of all things related to art, art history, and museums.
Whether it’s through tweets, photographs, or ruminations that sometime exceed 140 characters, this character is intriguing not only because of the seemingly omnipresent reports on art and museum happenings around the world (though primarily focused on New York), but also because it reflects a highly personal, and unadulterated, take on everyday experiences with works of art. For the Twitter Art Feed this month, Museum Nerd launched a community project that is an ode to-what else?-museums that will unfold throughout the month for our followers. I’ll let Museum Nerd explain further:
“This month, I’m extremely excited to be Brooklyn Museum’s 1stfans digital artist in residence. Initially I conceived of this project as a collective “love letter” to “museums.” I posted a message on twitter asking if anyone who “loved museums and could lick a stamp” wanted to be involved in an art project and used the hashtag #MuseumArt. Since the 1stfans artists are kept under wraps until their project launches, I wasn’t able to explain exactly what #MuseumArt involved, but people were excited nonetheless. I asked them to send me postcards showing museums and to write what they loved about the museum on the back.
Since @MuseumNerd is a secret identity, I enlisted the help of museum world friends who tweet for their museums. They received the postcards on my behalf and I went on several #SecretMission operations to meet them and attain the postcards. On one #SecretMission I visited four museums in four NYC boroughs to pick up postcards. In part I wanted to give recognition to the real people behind museum twitter feeds and remind folks that museums are not monolithic unapproachable institutions.
This project falls into critic Ben Davis’s “Greimasian Semiotic Square” as a “social art collaboration,” and was partly inspired by artist An Xiao’s explorations of the relationship between digital and analogue communication, especially in her 1stfans twitter art feed. What started as a brief digital message evoked dozens of analogue communications (postcards) which will now be posted again as digital scans, but with my own creative intervention. These will be in the form of simple word bubbles which reflect my obsession with words and words in art (e.g. Ed Ruscha). This is part of a body of work that celebrates “museums” themselves as the wonderful inspiring places they’ve been for all the participants in #MuseumArt and millions of others.”
The 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is no longer a benefit of 1stfans membership, but the original feed in its entirety has been archived on the Brooklyn Museum website.
Nitasha Kawatra worked in Membership at the Brooklyn Museum from April 2008 to November 2010. Known as Tash amongst friends, she was born and raised in Memphis, TN and received her BA in Art History and French from Bowdoin College in Maine. She completed part of her studies in Paris, France and also interned at the La Napoule Art Foundation outside of Cannes. Prior to the Brooklyn Museum, Tash coordinated educational travel programs for members of non-profit institutions. Tash now works in Membership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.